Many Facebook users (us included) noticed that the top navigation bar is now locked on top of the screen even if you scroll the page down. This behavior is new: before, the top navigation bar would scroll up with the page, and now it’s visible all the time.

This subtle change lets users always access some of the most important features on Facebook: friend requests, messages, notifications and search on the left side, as well as home & profile anchor buttons and account settings on the right.

For comparison, Twitter uses a similar floating design for its navigation bar, which is also always visible on top.

The folks over at Inside Facebook think this may be the first stage in a much bigger redesign, which is to be unveiled at Facebook’s F8 conference. If they’re right, Facebook is looking to lock the ads on the right side of the screen to be always visible too, which would surely increase the click-through rates but it would also make the page a bit more crowded.

Has the new, locked top navigation bar gone live for you? How do you like it? Please, share your opinions in the comments.

More About: design, Facebook, navigation, social network, social networking





Garmin has finally created a navigation app for the iPhone, and now StreetPilot for iPhone is available in the App Store for $40. Here’s a review where we compare the iPhone version to another Garmin hardware GPS navigator, the Nuvi 1690.

I’ve been using Garmin GPS navigation since the days when the hardware cost $800, and so I was interested in seeing if Garmin could translate the excellent user interface and responsiveness of its hardware navigation units to the iPhone.

Delayed for years because of Garmin’s foray into its own smartphone hardware, the company’s done a respectable job of moving its software onto the iOS platform. A big plus with the software is its continuously updated maps, where small parts of the map software reside on the iPhone’s hard drive, but most are downloaded via the 3G network.

This can be good and bad. While the maps are the freshest available, if you stray outside AT&T’s 3G network, you might not see a map until you get closer to a 3G tower. However, in my testing in the Milwaukee metropolitan area, this wasn’t a problem at all.

Most of the features you’ll get on Garmin hardware units are there in the software, including extensive points of interest such as gas stations and restaurants, helpful lane assist capabilities, and spoken street names.

In my testing, this iPhone version offered more information, and sooner than its hardware brandmate, a Garmin Nuvi 1690. In some cases, the iPhone version was slower, but as you can see in the video below, the speed difference was slight, and didn’t matter as much as the iPhone version’s useful tendency of offering additional street names in advance.

On the left of the navigation screen, there’s a small iPod icon, and when you select it, you can pause your music, skip to the next song, and go to your iPhone’s music player to select different playlists and songs. Unfortunately, it’s not as friendly with Pandora Radio, where if you try to listen to Pandora music, as soon as the voice kicks in, Pandora is gone for good.

Some users have complained about the sound quality of the voices in the iPhone StreetPilot, but that’s been improved with the recent update, although the sound quality of the voices is still not as good as that of the hardware versions. This seems like it would be an easy thing to fix, but in my testing, the voices were still clearly audible. You can hear the difference in the video below.

Overall, Garmin has done an admirable job of bringing its elegant user interface to the iPhone. The software’s $40 price is reasonable, especially since it includes live updates of road conditions and the freshest possible maps. However, given the unpredictability of AT&T’s network, taking a long trip with its constantly updating maps might be a problem if you’re traveling through sparsely populated areas. In addition, I’d like to see better integration with Pandora, and higher-quality voices.

To get an idea of Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone’s performance, take a look at this video where you can see which device won my informal and unscientific competition, and then don’t miss the gallery where I’ve made additional comments and observations.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

Here’s the main screen, and it looks a lot like the hardware Garmin.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

the map presents in 3-D, notice the iPod icon on the left.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

Tap that icon, and audio transport controls appear.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

You can navigate through spaghetti bowl of roads with ease.

[This graphic courtesy Garmin]

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

The Lane Assist feature is particularly useful.

[This graphic courtesy Garmin]

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

This is the screen you get if there are no traffic problems in the area.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

Here’s the list view.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

There are plenty of points of interest to which you can navigate.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

There are even more points of interest.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

Here, I’m looking for the nearest gas station.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

There’s a handy weather forecast available.

More About: apps, Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone, gps, hands-on, navigation, reviews, trending